23 April 2010
Barriers 'remain for disabled workers'
Disabled workers in the UK still face barriers in the workplace, a new report has found.
Published by Radar, it suggested that 75 per cent of such people polled who could keep a disability or health condition hidden at work did so always or sometimes.
In addition, individuals with mental health problems were nearly four times more likely than other disabled employees to be open to no one at work.
This was because they feared being stereotyped or stopped from progressing in their careers.
Meanwhile, it was also revealed that only 39 per cent of workers with disabilities were confident they would have equal career opportunities.
Responding to the findings, Mohini Bharania, discrimination solicitor at Russell Jones & Walker, commented: "This is a helpful report highlighting the fact that equal opportunities in the workplace is not simply about having access or making reasonable adjustments but it is about changing our attitudes and perception towards disabled employees and their workplace.
"Are disabled employees actually given equal career opportunities to progress in their career or is it more likely that stereotyping and low expectations from management means that in reality they are never encouraged or pushed forward for promotion.
"Employers need to encourage a culture of openness so that employees who suffer from a disability, in particular a mental health condition, do not fear being judged or labelled if they disclose it.
"We have to ensure that disabled employees are actually given equal career opportunities to progress in their profession and not simply pay lip service to the exercise.
"This is likely to be achieved by greater transparency, combined with proper support and mentoring in the workplace and high aspirations for disabled employees' performance and development."